It didn’t go as planned…the story of life.

It didn't go as plannedIt didn’t go as planned…what truly ever does?

Do you remember your first day of school?  I don’t really.  I just have a recollection that I was in a dress with a tin lunchbox and it was Mickey Mouse.  I think I picked it out because I watched The Mickey Mouse Club, but I could be wrong and it was all they had.  It’s doubtful I had a plan that first day other than go to school, learn/play, and apparently throw a tantrum over being forced to nap <<< that has since changed.  I will throw a tantrum over not having enough sleep.

I went through school not really having a plan as I wasn’t aware I needed one until I got to high school and was told to pick out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  THE REST of my LIFE?  I was 15 years old.  I wanted to throw on my mix tapes, and listen to some singles of Heavy D and the Boyz, sing along to my Sir Mix-a-lot Swass tape and eat Taco Bell and drive my doo-doo brown car.  I really didn’t have a plan.  I went to soccer practice and got out my frustrations about teenage bitchy girls and how they could be so gossipy and wrong about things, and where did I fit in with this crazy universe.

So when I got to college and finally thought I had things figured out because, by the way, I was one of those kids who didn’t like homework and tests and refused to actually take the SAT, yup, shocking, I went to a 2 year community college where it actually clicked that I needed to work my butt off…and so I graduated Summa Cum Laude…but only because I wanted to.  No one could make me.  <<< and that’s the thing.  You have to decide for yourself what you are going to do and what is worth working for.

So if you don’t know my story by now, just as I was getting my stuff together to be a teacher, I worked really hard at the 4 year college I transferred to, I started to feel awful.  Like physically beat down.  I would sleep more during the day…and have to take later classes.  My skin started acting funny, and the rest is history which you can read here, then continue here.  << Note, if you want to keep reading those, hit the next button at the bottom of the post.  So by 2010, I had been diagnosed with around 7 invisible diseases.  But the thing is this, was that the plan all along?  I actually believe it was so if you didn’t see me speak on this during my Live chat, here it is.  <<<

I have been through more than most and less than others.  I have changed my “plans” to suit those pitfalls and I have tried to hang on for dear life when things get too crazy.  I honestly have to believe this was meant for my highest good.

So my friends, if your life sentence really is “it didn’t go as planned” I want you to think long and hard about whether it really did…because if you ask me, it did.  It was up to me how I navigated those changes to my path, and it is truly up to you how you navigate yours.  Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ~Ferris Bueller

If you enjoyed this message, I would love to have you read more about my group coaching here for times such as these.  When life doesn’t go as planned…just click the “I need support” button.  Thank you my friends.

Feeling Lost? Are You Open for Help?

Are you open for help?

I was thinking about how hard it is to ask others for help.  Maybe this isn’t the case with you, but if you clicked on this, I think you were meant to read it.  You see I like to help others, I really do.  The weird thing is, I tend to isolate myself when I need help.

Why is being open for help so hard?

I think one of the reasons it is hard to ask others for help is because we assume society is going to see us as something less.  Truly.  Here is a wee example of a similar mindset.  My youngest has inherited my luck at finding faithful and true friends.  They are out there, and I do have my Unicorn (the one friend you can always call on no matter what), but right now, being a teenager is hard for her.  I went through this as well.

Scenario:  I have to be partners with x mom.  I know she left me out about 3 times, but I am okay with this.  Okay?  Don’t say anything.  I am fine.  <<< Not really, but okay.

So what advice would you give your teenage self if you could go back?

Don’t be the freaking Martyr. Seriously.  I told her to suffer in silence as this person continues to blow her off is not okay.  That is good advice for a teen and good advice for adults as well.  Be open and honest about the fact that being used is definitely not okay.

It is okay to not be okay.  Why do we have to say “No really.  I’m fine.”  If you aren’t fine, you aren’t fine.  No shame attached.  People who make you feel shame have had that passed down to them.  They were told to stuff it so often that they truly have stuffed their feelings inside.  Don’t let that be you.

Sit with it a while.  As the mom of not one, but two teenage daughters, I realize that occasionally I want to put on my armor and run into battle for them.  I need to sit down.  They need to sit down.  We all need to sit down.  Just be for a moment and see what happens.

Write about it.  I give everyone a journal.  I tell everyone to journal.  Ever since my red plastic Hello Kitty Diary days with the locking mechanism that got stuck, I journal.  I was around 6…seriously.  I also remember writing something that made me feel bad for the first time ever.  I “heated” someone I wrote.  Whew.  They had made me feel bad, made fun of me, and hit me.   So I heated them right back…and that made me feel bad.  That was the first time I can remember that I knew that wasn’t the answer to my problems.

Talk it out.  Now comes the time when we really need a good talking to.  NOT a private message.  NOT a series of short texts my people.  A chat.  A sit down.  People.  Don’t isolate if the problem is not going away.  The first thing I say to my girls is “Did you really talk?  Not a text??”  We can read into the words what we feel.  Not how they are intended.

Seek help.  If the situation hasn’t magically improved by doing the work above, it really is okay to say that you need some help or ideas in learning how to handle your problems.  Especially if it leads into the area of depression or thoughts of harm.  Have a list of trusted people.  Don’t have one?  Private Message or call a friend you trust especially if you know they have seen a mental health professional in your area.  Don’t want to do that because you want to stay private?  Use your friend “Google” and read the testimonials of the folks or reviews.

In the end, of course there are things we would all do differently, but today here is your most valuable lesson.  You did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time, and now you might have different thoughts, but it is time to let it go.  If you need help moving on, ask.

Are you open for help?

Interested in monthly content that can help shift your thoughts and move you to a new direction?  Want to change old patterns of thought?  Looking for a safe environment geared to your needs?  >>> Learn More <<<

How NOT to Multitask – Work Simpler and Saner

MultitaskGuest post by Leo Babauta

You’re working on two projects at once, while your boss has placed two new demands on your desk. You’re on the phone while three new emails come in. You are trying to get out the door on time so you can pick up a few groceries on the way home for dinner. Your Blackberry is going off and so is your cell phone. Your co-worker stops by with a request for info and your Google Reader is filled with 100+ messages to read.

You are juggling tasks with a speed worthy of Ringling Bros. Congratulations, multitasker.

In this age of instant technology, we are bombarded with an overload of information and demands of our time. This is part of the reason GTD is so popular in the information world — it’s a system designed for quick decisions and for keeping all the demands of your life in order. But even if we are using GTD, sometimes we are so overwhelmed with things to do that our system begins to fall apart.

Life Hack recently posted How to Multi-task, and it’s a good article on the nature of multi-tasking and how to do it while still focusing on one task at a time.

This post is How NOT to Multi-task — a guide to working as simply as possible for your mental health.

First, a few quick reasons not to multi-task:

  1. Multi-tasking is less efficient, due to the need to switch gears for each new task, and the switch back again.
  2. Multi-tasking is more complicated, and thus more prone to stress and errors.
  3. Multi-tasking can be crazy, and in this already chaotic world, we need to reign in the terror and find a little oasis of sanity and calm.

Here are some tips on how NOT to multi-task:

  1. First set up to-do lists for different contexts (i.e. calls, computer, errands, home, waiting-for, etc.) depending on your situation.
  2. Have a capture tool (such as a notebook) for instant notes on what needs to be done.
  3. Have a physical and email inbox (as few inboxes as possible) so that all incoming stuff is gathered together in one place (one for paper stuff, one for digital).
  4. Plan your day in blocks, with open blocks in between for urgent stuff that comes up. You might try one-hour blocks, or half-hour blocks, depending on what works for you. Or try this: 40 minute blocks, with 20 minutes in between them for miscellaneous tasks.
  5. First thing in the morning, work on your Most Important Task. Don’t do anything else until this is done. Give yourself a short break, and then start on your next Most Important Task. If you can get 2-3 of these done in the morning, the rest of the day is gravy.
  6. When you are working on a task in a time block, turn off all other distractions. Shut off email, and the Internet if possible. Shut off your cell phone. Try not to answer your phone if possible. Focus on that one task, and try to get it done without worrying about other stuff.
  7. If you feel the urge to check your email or switch to another task, stop yourself. Breathe deeply. Re-focus yourself. Get back to the task at hand.
  8. If other things come in while you’re working, put them in the inbox, or take a note of them in your capture system. Get back to the task at hand.
  9. Every now and then, when you’ve completed the task at hand, process your notes and inbox, adding the tasks to your to-do lists and re-figuring your schedule if necessary. Process your email and other inboxes at regular and pre-determined intervals.
  10. There are times when an interruption is so urgent that you cannot put it off until you’re done with the task at hand. In that case, try to make a note of where you are (writing down notes if you have time) with the task at hand, and put all the documents or notes for that task together and aside (perhaps in an “action” folder or project folder). Then, when you come back to that task, you can pull out your folder and look at your notes to see where you left off.
  11. Take deep breaths, stretch, and take breaks now and then. Enjoy life. Go outside, and appreciate nature. Keep yourself sane.
 

5 Hacks to Relieve Anxiety and Blues for the Empath

I have been told that I needed to chill out occasionally on the stress…which is kind of funny considering that is what I teach others in my yoga classes.  Here’s the thing though, if you walked around like a piece of Velcro picking up the feelings of every anxious person you came in contact with, you might understand.

I am going to go over the 5 hacks that will help you relieve anxiety and help you through the blues, but listen.  I give you permission to let it all go right now.  It’s not easy being an empath. << to read later if you don’t know if you are one.  The world doesn’t fully grasp how we came into existence and they think it’s lots of woo-woo stuff that can’t be explained.  Don’t worry, that’s not your job, or mine really, to explain this to them.  I used to think I had to explain this “gift” or curse as some say, but the truth is, we don’t owe the world an explanation.  We only need to take on our own problems, and that is half the battle.

What’s happening to me?

So here is what is going on with us.  We can read other people just like they read the news, but the difference is, when they close the article they are reading, the words stay there.  With me?  When we close our reading, the words jump onto us and follow us home…or in the case of anxiety, they somewhat merge with us.  As we go about our day, we can’t help but ponder why so and so was acting the way they did or we just wish we could help them because we know they told us they were fine, but clearly they aren’t and what if they do something stupid or worse.  Ack.  What if I am solely responsible for their bad decisions because I knew what they were thinking and I didn’t stop them.   Does this sound like a situation your brain has pondered?

Now you are anxious about things that haven’t even happened yet.

Trust me, I get it.  Your stomach hurts, you get a headache, you don’t want to see anyone and your brain is replaying things.  Nothing has even happened.  Quite possibly a few days go by, and you seem to let it go.  Trying to have a great day when out of no where, feelings of sadness overtake you.  You are already emotionally worn out and exhausted and now this.  What is going on now?  How can you stop this roller coaster of feelings?

5 Hacks to Relieve Anxiety and Blues:

  1. Focus on yourself.  I get that you are stressed, but let’s stop replaying what is happening with this other person.  It is time to focus on your needs.  As we focus on them, we are likely attracting more of their “stuff” our way.  Here is a tip from my new Guide.  Take the path of least resistance and sit in stillness for a round of 3 deep breaths.  You might want to be barefoot and put both feet flat on the floor.  Feel your toes on the ground or carpet.  What sensations can you feel?  What sounds are you listening to?  Continue to breathe and focus on the feeling of the air moving in and out of your lungs.  You are in control of your breath.  You are in your body.  Visualize a brilliant bubble surrounding you as you breathe.  Only what you allow to come in, gets in, and that is only positive energy to refill you.  You have now come back to your body.
  2. Follow that urge.  Do you have that itchy feeling sometimes that you need to get away and be alone?  Maybe read a good book or journal quietly?  That is your natural intuition telling you what you actually need to refill your depleted energy stores.  Energy is always changing and when it is in fatigue, it must be refilled.  Even more so for the empath.  Sadness might be telling you that your stores have reached a really low-level.  As we learn to let go from the other person’s emotions, we start to heal.  Getting back to nature can also help this process, going by the sea, or getting yourself to yoga where the energy is really high right towards the end of class and then everyone melts into savasana.  This is the most healing part, so try to follow your intuition here.
  3. Boundaries are your friend.  It is very important that you don’t take on too much and that the moment, and I am not kidding here, the moment you start to feel anxious in someone’s presence, you don’t question it.  That is your internal compass telling you who to steer clear of and it is time we stopped questioned it saying things like “Could it just be me?”.  No.  Your body knows.  If you are unsure how to set boundaries, practice using this article.  Everything we do has to be practiced so that it becomes like a reflex to us and we move into feeling instead of thinking.  That is actually our gift, and we need to recognize it and use it.  If someone causes a feeling that bring you down, recognize that as well.
  4. Take note of your own personal feelings.  Keeping a journal will be very useful for you so that at night, you can download what is really yours and yours alone to paper.  Not sure how to do this or want direction?  I recently was asked by well let’s say everyone who knows my journal practice for myself, to write a guide that would help empaths.  You are more than welcome to check it out, but the most important thing to remember here in all of these tips is that you have to do the work inside your head in order to make it become a habit that is second nature to you.  That is where the power lies.  It’s all inside of you already.
  5. Ground it out.  It’s time to put down the burdens of others.  Take your shoes off.  Feel through all four corners of your feet and lift your toes.  Walk outside on the ground or on your carpet if you prefer, but really focus on the feeling.  Being in nature is key here, but you can also take a shower and visualize the water cleansing the stagnant energy off of you.  Use sense of smell to make you feel safe and secure.  Do you know what the number one smell is that helps clear your head?  Fresh baked cookies.  I know, I know, but it’s true.  It invites feelings of warmth.  Last, but not least, make a list of 5 things that you like to do that soothe you.  Refer to that list often and re-evaluate it if something changes.

I hope you really use these tips and refer back to it as needed.  As we start to make taking care of our feeling first a routine, we will be less likely to fall into the trap of overwhelm, anxiety and sadness.  Need more?  My monthly Club is always available with open doors.  The content changes monthly, but I know you will enjoy it!

5 Hacks to Relieve anxiety and blues

 

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Can you choose your emotions just like clothes?

Pick your emotion

Complete this sentence.  I feel __________.  Happy?  Sad?  Depressed even.  What if you could change your emotions like how you can change your clothes?  What would you pick out to “wear”?

Well I have a secret.

Whatever your focus on, you feel.  I know.  It’s shocking.  When I go into Angry Hulk mode, every single thing seems to make me mad.  Likewise, when I go into “my life sucks” mode in my head, everything seems to go wrong.  The truth is, I just attract more of that feeling that I don’t want by looking at things this way.

As I would sit in traffic, I would purposely put my favorite music on so that I could focus on that instead of the feeling of anxiety by “being late” or by “being stuck”.  I wasn’t late.  I was arriving when I was destined to and I wasn’t stuck…I just simply was there for a moment.

As I thought about the things that were wrong in my life, they seem to multiply like that old saying “things come in threes.”  I can change my emotions just like my clothes and I have learned to stop a spiral as soon as it starts.

So how can you choose your emotions?

  1. Take control of your head.  Mentally, slap yourself.  Say Snap outta it or whatever you need to do, but remind yourself that it is time to shift your focus.  Does dwelling on the bad make it better?  No.  Could it possibly make it worse?  Yes because you could have a heart attack from the stress, or you could experience heart palpitations from working yourself up over the “thing” in your head.  Trick to try: Visualize a gear shift in you head.  It is now shifting from ____ to happy.  From whatever that emotion is to the opposite.  Lots of time in my group work or my Club, I will tell them to use a thesaurus and work from the feeling they want to get to.  So let’s say it’s peaceful.  We will now shift to that feeling mentally as we visualize a hammock or a garden scene or whatever takes us there.  As we do that, our brain actually sends out the “shifting” signal so that we really are taking back control.  You can do this my friends.
  2. A body in motion.  So you can’t really start running around wherever you are, but how are you being?  I teach a mindful yoga class and let me tell you, the first one, people are all kinds of ways not paying attention to the body language they are sending me.  Phones out, arms crossed, angry-looking eyeballs and frowns.  It almost knocks me over at the first yoga class, but I then start to work my magic.  By the end people are so used to watching how they are being that I can tell.  Try this:   Bring your shoulders up to a shrug then gently rotate them away from your ears.  Let the shoulder blades glide down your back and now bring your hands to heart center with the palms touching.  We call this prayer hands, Anjali Mudra or even Namaste hands, but it is a gesture of peace.  Breathe in and out for a round of three and see how you feel now.  Better?  I thought so.
  3. What are you saying to yourself?  Are you stuck in some old cycle of rubbish?  Do you think things should have turned out differently so you are in constant drag mode?  << Drag or lift baby.  Trust me.  Your feed is full of people who are dragging your energy down daily.  Don’t carry that with you.  Wake up.  Decide to feel awesome.  Proceed to do just that.  Each and every day in my Club, we are constantly re-aligning ourselves.  If the mood starts to shift to drag, I encourage my mindful students to think about ways to cut that drag force out of their lives.  How can we do this?  Try this tip: Leave $5 forward at the register for the next person.  Hold the door when you see someone coming.  Make eye contact with the homeless even if your friend says “You don’t know if they are really homeless.  I see them here allll the time.”  << note friend is a drag force.  get to a room of people working on the same goals as you and if you can’t be there in person, try a virtual club.  But make sure there are more lift forces in your life!! 

Would I like to see you in my Club?  Absolutely.  But only if you really want to work on the things we just talked about and you feel you could really benefit from learning more mindful practices.  Just hit the “I need support.” button over here.  <<< as I linked those words to my platform.  I don’t hold you hostage and you are free to leave at any time.  I am just adding some tools to that toolbox of yours for a day when you really need it.

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7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life

7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life

I’ll never forget the night I sat down and decided that there was much more to keeping a journal than 30 days of Gratitude.  Don’t get me wrong, that is absolutely what started my goal of journaling for an entire year.  In 30 days, I saw more progress in my outside world than I had in a long time.  Starting a daily journal practice absolutely will change your life…if you commit to getting to know your subconscious mind. 

The thoughts.

There was a chasm, a freaking chasm, between who I wanted to be and what my thoughts were telling me.  I was not living up to my full potential and the 18 years of living with invisible diseases had worn away the once shiny coat I saw of life.  It was dull and bitter.  This wasn’t what I saw my life looking like, I would think through the hazy fog of pain.  Why bother getting out of my pajamas?  My subconscious would tease me.  Get under these blankets and rest.  You deserve it.  You have 7 invisible diseases.  No one blames you for sitting here.  You are just trying to survive.  And that’s when it hit me.

The goal.

I wanted to live, not merely survive.  I wanted to change my thoughts, my world and help others like me.  I wanted to be an inspiration to my children and I wanted my husband to stop feeling so helpless about the physical pain I was in.  I wanted my dad to stop looking at me like he broke me by passing on the genes that made me different.  And one night, it all came to me on how to help others with this.

7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life:

  1. Journaling clears your head.  As you begin the “getting ready for bed” routine, your brain has probably been on some sort of tech.  Your brain still thinks it’s play time actually, so it’s time to start clearing our heads, and start putting our brains to bed so to speak.  It is time to reduce the scattered thoughts that so much information available to us at one time (the internet) provides us.  As we get ready for bed, it is time to increase our focus on a few specific things and start to recharge.  We are now providing the bridge between our subconscious and our conscious waking thoughts.  So much information can just flow if we let go!
  2. Your intentions become more clear.  A few weeks ago, you would have thought I asked people to throw away their phones.  I simply suggested getting an old-fashioned alarm clock and stop relying so much on your phones to wake you up in the morning.  I merely pointed out that the tone with which you start your day stays with you (and that link is even a few years old, it is much greater now as it points out in the study).  So if you take 5-10 minutes to think about what your wrote the night before, and how to utilize the first 10 minutes of waking up as pure visualization, gratitude practice, and goal setting, you will start to see tiny changes in your productivity during the day.  New opportunities will arise.
  3. Abundance in your life will increase by your ability to be very specific with what you want.  Last year, I paid off a very high credit card bill because I wrote about my monthly goals every single month until that thing was paid off.  I was not in a good place financially at the time due to me leaving work to have my “sabbatical” of healing.  This is a true story.  I was driving a mini-van that was falling apart, and I knew that I wanted a new vehicle.  The funds came in for me to pay off the credit card bills, and have money left-over to get the vehicle without worry or fear.  I also renewed my passport and traveled overseas where I had been invited to speak at a conference.  It was exactly what I had written out.  I was specific on some things I wanted to get done and each month as I started a new month, I would plan out that month’s goals.  I got very clear and things changed.
  4. How do you want to feel each day?  Why is it so frustrating that as we live our lives, we focus so much on what we DON’T want to attract??  Why is it that we don’t ever take a minute to connect to how we actually want to feel?  To live?  What do we really want to experience on a daily basis?  I am by no means saying that there aren’t wonderful people out there who can help you figure this out in therapy, but I was spending my co-pay ($25 a visit at the time…now up to $30), trying to get “unstuck” from the depression caused by the diseases when I finally had the Epiphany that if I wrote just a little bit each day on how I wanted to feel, and what I wanted to create, that I could make more progress through the mental jungle in my head than the lady sitting there listening to me could.  I was holding back what I told her anyway (note, you can also use this in addition to, so just letting you know. There are many ways to use journaling).
  5. Gratitude starts to increase as you notice the good in your life.  Do you ever think that someone in your life could use more thoughts of gratitude?  I did too.  But trying to change another person is like changing a light bulb using the Force (unless you truly are a Jedi and I am mistaken).  You can mentally torture yourself about this other situation that you can’t change, or you can start focusing on the good you already have in your life.  As we think about the good in our lives, and we seriously raise our vibration to one of thankfulness and gratitude, things start to take on a whole new perspective.  Trust me, I know.  I will never forget the day I got to stock up my refrigerator with good food because surprisingly, gluten-free items are way more expensive than things with gluten…as well as things that don’t have additives.   I was so very thankful that I lived in a time when I could find the food I needed without getting sick.
  6. Comparison starts to melt away.  I was once friend with someone who always wanted what other people had.  Nothing in life made her happy.  At all.  This kind of stuff melts away as you focus on your monthly goals, your monthly intentions, your happiness and what you have.  Who cares what person x “appears” to have?  Truth bomb.  They are faking it too sister.  Yup.  Marriage might be rocky, job might be stressful, and they never have time to just breathe.  Don’t focus on their fappiness.  <<< My word for Fake-happy I made up one day.  That’s another story before the healing process…read later if you are there.
  7. Journaling gets you closer to self.  Head is where your thoughts are and they are things you really don’t want others to know.  Heart is actually where your self lives.  The two don’t always agree.  In fact, they often argue.  Your head is like “Let’s be practical with this money.”  Your heart is like “Oh my gosh.  I need a pick-me-up today.  Going to shop.”  This is just my example as I couldn’t put 2 thoughts together the other day as it was a bad news day for 2 friends, so I listened to my heart and stopped working and left the house.  AS I let go of that fear though, and learn to write about it, I actually visualize things working out.  Not just for me, but for others in my life as well.  Self is my essence and I know that it distinguishes me from others.  In this instance, I am not talking about the ego.  I am talking about who I was before I let all the labels of disease try to take over that essence.  For me personally, I had to find my way back there and that journey will look different for each and every one of you, but whether you write two lines on a page, draw art therapy photos under quotes, bullet journal, or just jot down monthly goals and intentions, you can find your way back.  Trust the process.

For more information on what came to me one night while I was journaling, see this link on my Mindful Coaching.  If you want some guidance on this process, with no strings attached, you can leave at anytime, click on the word support on that page and find me in my closed group.  The Head|Heart|Health Club would love to see you this month!

Who are you choosing to be?

Coping When a Dysfunctional Friendship Ends

 dys·func·tion·al

The friendship started innocently enough.  We had lots of things in common so small talk led to drinks after work, outings, and even group adventures.  I was so happy that I had found a friend who really listened to me and supported me.  As time went on, I started feeling heard less and less.  I tried to make adjustments in the conversation, but it always circled back to whatever new and terrible thing had happened to her.  Some nights, I would be on the computer for hours consoling her and helping her through something.  I would go to bed mentally and physically drained.  The “friendship” was not reciprocal.

My husband had enough and told me to just ignore the messages that always started out the same way.  It seemed she wanted to catch up and “talk”, but we never did anything anymore.  She didn’t call me on the phone, didn’t answer my text messages, and didn’t want to see me.  She just wanted to use messenger as her personal dumping ground all night long.

I felt alone and isolated in the friendship.  I was not important enough to make time for.  There were other examples as well.  An event we were going to go to together that she said we would plan…weeks later, photos of her with someone else at the event.  Exercise class no show…and excuses on nights I asked her to do something with me, or just come over and chat.  However, throughout this process, when she needed me or wanted to come over to see a mutual friend, I made the time.  I was always making time because trust is something I value.

That’s when it finally hit me.  I didn’t trust her anymore due to the lies and excuses.  I was nurturing a friendship that was crumbling because I believed she would wake up and see what she was doing to me.  It wasn’t going to happen because I was not the only one she lied to.  She lied to her husband, to her work, to mutual friends, and most of all, to herself.  I could not fix this.  She had to get back to seeing a weekly counselor and nothing I did or said would ever be enough until she was ready to work on herself.

How to cope when a friendship ends?

  • Make a plan. What would you do if you were to run into this person again?  What would happen if this person wanted back in your life?  I know the answers seem hard to think about, but it’s best to run through that now while you are fresh to whatever happened in the relationship.  The main question is does the relationship empower me or deflate me?  Is there capacity for an authentic, honest relationship or not?  Honestly, you already know the answers to these questions.
  • Write your feelings down. I know that this is not like a funeral…but in a way, it is.  You are dealing with the stages of grief, and it is a serious thing.  You have loved that friend, cared for that friend, and despite your best efforts, the friendship ended.  I haven’t forgotten the moments of happiness the friendship brought me, and despite the fact that for the better part of a year I saw the friendship going down a steep hill into a black abyss that sucked all the joy out of it, I still regret the way it ended.  But I also know it takes two working together to save a relationship.  Not one.  The primary emotion that comes to me is anger because of the way it ended.  Anger that I was made to be in the middle of something that was never about me anyway. 
  • Think about the qualities you really want in a friend.  I was in a bad place when we met, but as I started to get better, it seemed to make my friendship worse.  That doesn’t even sound okay to me now.  How could a friend not be happy for me?  I wanted someone who could talk to me in person and not make excuses because they were mad that I was doing better.  I am not sure why I didn’t notice it before.
  • That brings me to “Don’t take it personally.” Everyone is dealing with their own demons.  If the friendship ends, there is a good chance that it is freeing you up for something new.  It will hurt for a long time, but eventually you will realize that you have broken the cycle and moved on.  New friends await you, and this time, as soon as you see something that doesn’t sit well with you, be brave and have that conversation on what is important to you in a friendship.  If this person is meant to be in your life, they will understand, value you, and most importantly, make time for you.

As your self-esteem and self-worth improves, these old friends WILL fall away if they are not meant to be in your life.  You are making room for so much more my friend.  In my closed group, the Head|Heart|Health Club, we are working on exactly what we want to attract in our lives and that includes new boundaries for ourselves and realizing that it truly is okay to feel worthy.

How Creating Self-Compassion Opens the Door to Healing

Self-compassion

Whew.  Some weeks are harder than others.  After coming off of my recent MCL knee injury, I was made to rest for approximately 6 weeks.  I had to learn things all over again that I worked really hard to teach myself when my body was so wracked with pain I could barely move.

How did I create self-compassion for myself and how did it allow me to actually heal in a more complete way?

I was working not to trigger those thoughts of pain, and in those first days, it was a struggle to practice everything I teach my group to do…which ended up being a blessing in disguise.  I learned now that I have those skills in mindfulness, which I previously did NOT have in my tool box, that I can get through the pain much easier. 

In our society, we are taught that bashing ourselves is not only okay, but it gets people’s attention.  Unfortunately, research has proven that this leads to consequences in the thought processes that actually perpetuate anxiety, depression, and of course lowered self-esteem.

Wait.  Where’s the good news?   Psychologist and author Kristin Neff, has said that cultivating self-compassion really centers around three things: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.  I had actually been practicing all three in my journal therapy and wasn’t even aware that it had been “studied” and researched.  I just knew intuitively that I had a knack for getting to the root of the problem thus helping others to heal as well.

Strategies for Creating More Self-Compassion

If you are working through emotional triggers and trauma, this part is a must do in your self-care routine.  I will kick your butt if you try that lame excuse of not having enough time.  Wake up at least 5 minutes earlier, put your sticky note on the calendar to journal and/or try one new thing a day for 30 days, etc.  Most people who tell others that they don’t have enough time are really saying Hey, I hear ya.  Taking care of myself right now isn’t a priority. 

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ~H. Jackson Brown

Just saying.  ^^^

Now that some of you are pissed at me for telling the truth, let’s move on to the strategies.  By the way, if you don’t know who is writing this, read this link later. <<< You might be less inclined to be mad at me.  I have been there.

  1. Acceptance is key.  Thus the truth-telling.  I used every excuse in the book, blamed whatever I could, but the truth was, I needed to learn to love myself pain and all.  I needed to accept that I might not ever be well, and that my friends, was a bitch.   That was the other part of me that I denied.
  2. Dig deep.  Somewhere, deep inside of me, was the part that was hardest to make peace with.  It was the me before all this happened.  You know what, she didn’t ask for this.  Okay.  Got that.  But how would she feel knowing that I was staying stuck in my pain?  She’d be pretty pissed at me.  It is time to make peace with the old me, and become who I was supposed to be.
  3. Watch how the language changes.  I remember my dad.  Sigh.  He is still alive, don’t worry, but it was the way he dealt with this situation (bless his heart).  As someone who is highly sensitive to others emotions, I could feel his sadness.  He felt so sorry for me.  NOT helpful.  It was not his fault you see, but still not helpful.  As part of the parents who both gave me the hereditary condition, they both, in some small way, felt responsible.  Okay, so it is important to recognize who is around you when you speak to yourself as well.  You might be so programmed by your parents or others that you continue this woe is me…I am not worthy…I am so __________.  Insert your negative perception of yourself.
  4. Get out of your head!!  I am now great at this, but I was NOT for many years.  As a matter of fact, I have been practicing this now for 3 years and it has really changed my world.  In yoga, I mention this frequently as I teach my class this one thing.  Drop back into your body.  That sounds easy to do, but let’s try it right now.  Touch your scalp.  Feel your hair follicles come alive as you give yourself a scalp massage.  Touch the top of your ears, all the way down to your ear lobes.  Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply for a full round of three.  Say “I am worthy.” With each breath feel the worthiness come into your being.  Now open your eyes.  You have just soothed your parasympathetic nervous system.  Ta-dahhhh (you basically help the fight or flight response calm down).

Whew.  I don’t know about you, but I feel better just exploring how these tips really helped me change my life.  In creating my journal therapy content each month, there is so much more that goes into it.  I created a group where people like me could heal in a supportive environment and work through this “stuff” that truly gets in the way of our healing.  Never before had I ever, in 18 years, found a group that was working on healing the Head|Heart|Health of the matter.  Quite simply, I created what brought me back to life.

I hope this has helped you today and if you want to be included on my newsletter, the sign up is on the side of the blog.  Feel free to use the social sharing buttons if this article resonated with you!

She believed

 

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Reduce Stress Now With These 3 Tips!

tips for stressEvery single day, I see signs of stress.  The most stressed people seem to pop in to my yoga class as beginners.  They are literally alive with stress.  I can read their energy like a neon sign.  Do I have the right mat?  Let me look at my phone again for just a second to alert everyone not to bother me for an hour.  Oh, look at her yoga pants.  Is that what I should have bought?  My toes.  Crap.  I didn’t get a pedicure and this class sees my toes.  What if she makes me ohm?  I can’t be doing that.  It’s against my beliefs. 

Okay, so some of these have actually been said directly to me as the yoga teacher…and others said to a friend nearby.  It’s a small quiet space and I pick up on things.  The truth is, I can actually narrow it down to 3 tips because we just don’t do this in our lives.

Reduce Stress With These 3 Tips:

  1. Be present.  <<< I can actually end the article right here, but most people don’t know how to be present, so let me explain.  I read somewhere that being present is an ART.  And I want you to remember that.  In your Activities, Routines, and Triggers.  What we do daily…where we are.  Kids activities or yours.  Be mindful of your feelings and stress levels.  In your daily routines, pay attention to what you are thinking about.  Is it in the now or the past or future?  Focus.  Lastly, triggers.  These we need more help with.  <<< You can open my linked guest post after this.
  2. Are you taking a step back and breathing?  Most people do not take a step back and inhale deeply.  Even in my yoga classes, I actually have to teach deep breathing.  People even breathe quickly.  Like hurry up breath, I got things to do.  But instead, rephrase and mentally say “I can slow down and breathe today.”  If you take longer, deeper, more cellular breaths you will actually start to lower your blood pressure, so do that for a full round of three.  Daily.  Each time you feel stress, panic or anxiety come on.
  3. Think for yourself in a non-judging way.  As I said today on my FB Live, yes, this one is hard people.  Most people lack the ability to just let the thoughts pass by as observations.  Sometimes we think not nice things.  About ourselves, others, society as a whole, etc.  Sometimes, the thoughts aren’t even ours.  They were programmed in long ago by things we heard our parents say and now we say them to ourselves too.  But what if we practiced discernment?  The ability to practice more understanding or awareness.  What if we knew we sounded like a programmed robot on auto-pilot?

My glorious and wonderful friend was so scared of letting me down, her words, in my yoga class that she came in apologizing.  She hadn’t seen me in years, and wasn’t aware at all of how I taught yoga.  She knew she wanted to do it, and in her eyes, it was the Instagram version.  Umm no.  I am not an Insta teacher.  She thought she had to be flexible (no), dressed in the latest (no), and have a pedicure.  No.  It took several classes of me actually teaching the yogic breathing, philosophy and more to get her to come in to class and just breathe a sigh of relief.  No one was watching her.  They were all in their own heads.  It is okay to fall out of a pose.  It is okay to try something and fail.

The stress she had created in her mind was all based off assumptions of judgement, and fear of wanting to fit in.  As we practice patience, trust, acceptance, and letting go, we can begin to feel the stress melt away.  So what if you mess up?  In anything?  The beauty of life is that you can start again.   

Mental Badassery: Becoming Aware of the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Mental AwarenessMental Badassery: Becoming Aware of the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Guest Post By Leo Babauta

There’s a hidden mechanism that creates unhappiness, difficulty changing habits, relationship problems, frustration, anger and disappointment.

Barely anyone is aware of this hidden mechanism, even though it’s happening all the time, in all of us.

It’s the stories we tell ourselves.

We do it all day long: we tell ourselves a story about what’s happening in our lives, about other people, about ourselves. When I call them “stories” … that doesn’t mean they’re false, or that they aren’t based on the truth. It just means we’ve constructed a narrative based on our experiences, a perspective on the world around us, an interpretation of facts as we see them. Not false, but not necessarily the entire truth — just one perspective.

A different person could look at the same situation and tell a very different situation.

A few examples:

  1. You might have a story about how your boss is very supportive and praises you a lot, which means you are doing a good job and like your work environment, and this story makes you happy. Another person might look at the same situation and tell a story about how the work area is messy and people are always interrupting him and he’s tired and the clients are rude and smelly.
  2. You might be upset with your spouse because she was rude to you or didn’t clean up her messes for the last few days. Another person might have the same experience but tell themselves a story about how his spouse has been working hard at her job, has gone out of her way to cook a nice meal for you, and is tired and needs some comforting.
  3. You might have a story about how you keep procrastinating, keep failing at being disciplined, never stick to a workout routine. Another perspective might be that you have gotten some great things done despite getting distracted, you’ve been passionate about learning something and that’s taken a priority over work tasks you’re dreading, and you are tired and need some rest before you can tackle exercise with vigor.

Each of these examples have very different stories about the same situations — it’s about which details you pay attention to, and how you shape the narrative of those details.

Now, telling ourselves stories is natural — we all do it, all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it. But if we’re not aware of the stories we tell ourselves, we can’t understand how they shape our happiness, relationships, moods, and more.

Becoming Aware of Your Stories

Throughout the day, you’re telling yourself stories about what’s going on, about how wrong other people are to do what they do, about how good or bad you are at things.

My challenge to you is to start to notice what you’re telling yourself about everything.

It’s important to be aware of what those stories are, and how they’re affecting your happiness. If a story is making you happy, and you’re aware of that, then great! If you’re not aware of it, it’s not such a big problem if it’s making you happy, but what happens if the story starts to make you unhappy with your life? Then if you’re not aware, you have difficulties.

So start to become aware of your stories, good and bad. Notice them throughout the day.

Notice when you’re getting stuck in the story, spinning it around and around in your head. So and so shouldn’t have done this, and on and on, making you frustrated and unhappy with the person.

When we get hooked on a story, it’s hard to break away from it. But becoming aware of being hooked is the most important step.

What We Can Do

So what can we do if we’re hooked on a story? It can be very difficult to break out of that trap. I know, because it happens to me all the time — I see the story I’m telling myself, but it seems so solid and real that I can’t just let it go.

The first thing you can do is regard it as a dream. That doesn’t mean it’s false, it just means it’s not so solid. It’s something you’re playing out in your head, just like a dream, with very real emotional results. See it as a dream, not solid, and see if you can come out of the dream to the physical reality of the world around you in this moment. What sensations are happening right now, as opposed to in this dream?

The next thing you can do is not act on the story. Even if you’re caught up in it, that doesn’t mean you have to lash out at someone, or run away to distraction or comfort. Just sit with the story, notice how it’s making you feel, notice the physical sensations in your body. Notice that you’re caught up. But don’t act, just stay with your awareness.

There is another way of being: where you don’t cling to the stories but instead drop below them, and are just aware of the moment as it is, without interpretations, judgements, preconceptions. Stories will still come up, but you can notice them and not get caught up. Or if you do get caught up, notice that and don’t hold so tightly to it, coming back to the present moment.

However, this is a pretty advanced skill, and most of us can’t stay in this mode of being for very long. For now, just focus on awareness of your story, regarding it as a dream, and not acting on the story as much as we normally do.

In this way, you’ll be less caught up in whatever is causing unhappiness and frustration, and more present in the current moment.

 

Feel free to start changing your story today…